An Entire “Mini-town” Was Created for the Most Devastating Avengers Scene: Everything from Drone Detectors to Surveillance Bots Sealed the Whole Place Shut

Avengers: Endgame was a logistical nightmare but the surgical execution of one tragic scene proves miracles really do exist.

avengers

The making of the Infinity Saga is as big a mystery to the fans as the entirety of Phase Five’s Secret Invasion. The narrative established in the run-up to Avengers: Endgame proved that the level of planning that was required to pull off the two-part grand finale would make the Time Heist look like child’s play. As the Avengers played pretend on screen, the real superheroes got to work to create one of the most visionary and sprawling spectacles ever dreamed of on film.

Endgame battle

However, before the Infinity Saga could go into production, a plethora of complications would arise that would make the mere existence of these two films seem like a miracle. Directed by the Russo Brothers and later becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time, the history behind the making of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame is a story worth its weight in gold.

The Infinity Saga Paid Tribute to MCU’s Decade-Long Past

In the lavish two-volume set encapsulating the story of the MCU’s creation, the 2021 book titled The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe narrated by studio creatives, cast, crew, and production execs divulges an impossible tale that would get chalked up to myth if not for the very real accounts of the very real people and their on-set experiences during the filming of Infinity Saga.

Thor in Avengers: Infinity War

As recounted in The Story of Marvel Studios, the run-up to the Infinity Saga was not an easy one given the writers were stepping in blind as to how the story would unfold. Commissioned during the production of Captain America: Civil War, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were not even caught up to the lore of the 6 films preceding Infinity War, let alone how they would all tie up to the actual grand finale.

Doctor Strange hadn’t gone into production; Guardians Vol. 2 didn’t have a shooting script; Spider-Man: Homecoming didn’t have a director, much less a lead actor to play Spider-Man; Thor: Ragnarok had some treatments; creative conversations with Ryan Coogler about Black Panther had barely begun. And then there was Captain Marvel. It had some treatments and early drafts, but the film was already planned to release between the two connected Avengers films.

When Markus and McFeely did raise their concerns: “It was amorphous to the point where we’re like, ‘We don’t know if we can come up with a story,’” Kevin Feige helpfully advised: “You know? Don’t worry about it. Do it anyway.”

On the other hand, the studio was also aware of the fact that: “If a “finale” was a colossal failure, it would retroactively taint everything that came before it.” The unbearable weight on the shoulders of Markus and McFeely then dictated that they tie up the mythology of the past 10 years of a universe in the making with 18 interconnected films worth of lore into the span of 2 films – and stick a perfect landing that would drive home enough emotion and turn the crowds insane while also protecting the heroes’ legacies.

Avengers: Endgame Pulls Off a Logistical Nightmare With Precision

Among the many stories that marred every day of the production of the Infinity Saga, one of the most weighted, nostalgic, important, and yet devastating experiences involved the filming of Tony Stark’s funeral scene. Not only did that scene carry within it the emotion of billions of fans across the planet, but also scaled the culmination of 11 years’ worth of an arc for a character who was as loved on screen as the actor was worshipped off it.

RDJ in Avengers: Endgame

Even so, the plain logistical nightmare of gathering all the key players of the MCU in one place at a set schedule for a scene that involved minimal dialogue and fleeting screen time was incomprehensible. As revealed in the documented behind-the-scenes account of the making of the MCU:

To gather that many A-list talent together at a secret location in the rural woods of Georgia would mean that, essentially, a mini-town would need to be created for the shoot. There would be forty trailers alone; one for each actor. Then, add support trailers for bathrooms, wardrobe, makeup, catering, and more.

Security would need to shut down an entire lake, the buildings and homes that surrounded it, and all access points from any prying eyes. They would need drone detectors, drones for surveillance, police support, electrical generators for cameras, trucks upon trucks full of equipment and more.

We’ve had other really big things to keep quiet – big days or characters. But that was as big as we’ve ever had. All the execs were there. It was what ten years had built up to, having all that talent together in one place.

In the end, the scene resulted in an epic Oscar-worthy moment of who’s who of the Marvel universe gathered in one venue and a framed arc reactor engraved with the phrase: “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart” that resulted in irreparable heartbreak and audible wails from fans across the globe in unison.

Iron Man funeral scene in Avengers: Endgame [Credit: Marvel Studios]

Joe Russo said it best when he paraphrased the emotion that permeates the air surrounding Robert Downey Jr. and Tony Stark to this day:

It was certainly a powerful moment, without question, understanding what this grand experiment was. Seeing it come to fruition and completion all at the same time. Kevin’s life’s work was heading toward this massive climax. And it was all gonna change after that. I just think none of us wanted to walk away.

Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame earned $2.05 billion and $2.8 billion respectively, ranking as the 5th and 2nd highest-grossing films of all time [via The Numbers].

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